17 June 2017 – News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

17 June 2017
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place.
In this week’s Top 10 we recognise World Day Against Child Labour, promote the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre’s telethon, visit Equatorial Guinea, the Himalayas and much more!


1. Last Monday (12 June) was the World Day Against Child Labour. Human Rights Watch has an informative article on the ways in which war and natural disasters create the conditions for child labour around the world.


2. And next Tuesday we recognise World Refugee Day and encourage you to support the Asylum Seeker’s Resource Centre’s telethon. Their goal is to raise $300,000 to continue providing much needed support including health care, shelter and food to over 3,000 refugees next year. You can call 1300 692 772 and speak to a range of famous people donating their time!


3. If you’re like me you will know little about life in Equatorial Guinea. So this story from Human Rights Watch will be important reading. “For the past two decades, Equatorial Guinea has been one of Africa’s largest oil producers and on paper, it is a middle-income economy. Yet instead of spending the country’s oil riches on improving life for ordinary Equatorial Guineans, the government has squandered its enormous wealth on questionable infrastructure projects – highways to nowhere, empty 5-star hotels – where corruption is rife.”


4. Since the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell apartments in London there have some interesting and insightful comments about the way in which this symbolically represents the class divide in England. “It is hard to think of a more literal representation of the words ‘poverty trap’ than that burning pyre.” George Monbiot in The Guardian suggests that these events are the result of greed over public interest.


5. June means Gay Pride – and The Conversation has a great (but sad and disturbing) article citing research (The Franklin & Marshall Global Barometer of Gay Rights) that rates gay rights in each country in the world – and the results are not good – “only one country in 10 actively protects the human rights of sexual minorities”.


6. Cattle and other hard hoofed animals can do considerable damage to the land causing erosion and land degradation, and now it also seemed that these animals are causing big problems to native koalas who are being attacked by cattle who confuse the koalas with other small animals like dogs who may be a threat to their calves. If you’d like to do your bit to support koalas you can check out the Friends of the Koala group who are working to protect these cute little critters.


7. This article from Bloomberg outlines the shifts that are occurring in energy production and consumption – and for once, the news is good with good progress away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other renewables. They chart the 5 most significant developments – coal’s quickening demise; even China is turning away; China is also using less diesel; global carbon emissions are stable; and solar and wind march on!


8. And while we’re at it – big congrats to Germany who is now getting over 85% of their power from renewable sources. As a result, on 30 April, energy prices have dropped to below zero – something they are hoping to achieve on a regular basis by 2030.


9. A group of Buddhist nuns are out there creating social change as they ride their bikes on a 4,000km trek from Kathmandu to the northern city of Leh in India. The 500 nuns from the Drukpa Order are attempting to raise awareness about human trafficking. One of the nuns said, “We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it’s okay to sell them,” she said, adding that the bicycle trek shows “women have power and strength like men.”


10. We love it when we hear stories of people doing what they can, each in our own way, to make the world a better place. And that’s what Agnes Gund has just done. She sold a painting and with a proportion of the profits, $100 million, she has created the Art for Justice Fund focusing on reducing mass incarceration and other criminal justice issues.


Thanks for your company this week. Look forward to sharing our Top 10 with you all again next week.